This summer saw the release of Drenge’s eponymous debut, a terror-squall of psych-punk blues, created by two scrawny brothers named Loveless; drummer Rory and vocalist Eoin, who delivered bitter, anti-love vignettes over feedback tapestries and shameless Nirvana hooks. The duet, naming themselves after the Danish word for boys, grew up in North Derbyshire, just outside of Sheffield and started playing music together in late 2010 “as some sort of escape”. This escape has led them into the terrain of the festival circuit and being touted new spook-rock visionaries, much in the vein of the 80’s Matchbox B-Line Disaster or the Misfits with Dinosaur Jr. overtones. It’s a pleasingly horrendous mix.
Recorded with Ross Orton (Add N to (X)) in Sheffield over just three sessions and released through Infectious Records, Glass caught up with Eoin on the back of an album promoting European tour and prior to next month’s fourth single release, Nothing.
The album is bookended by two statements upon love. You start with, People In Love Make Me Feel Yuck and end upon, “I don’t give a fuck about people in love/They don’t piss me off/They just make me give up”. Did you set out to write a record on love?
I wrote that last line with the opening song in mind. PILMMFY was written as a critique of the media hype around the Royal Wedding, but it’s not at all explicit. By the time, I came round to writing the closing lines of F*ckabout, it was about 18 months later. I had a girlfriend and my moody and flippant attitudes to seeing people brag or openly display their affections for one another had changed. I think old couples are really cute.
Is this because you’ve experienced horrific relationship experiences or are you just feeding into the mythos of your surname, Loveless?
Not at all. I’d have loved to have called the record Loveless, but we were beaten to it sadly.
Titles such as I Wanna Break You in Half and Gun Crazy play with an aggressive and sinister edge. Are these tongue in cheek or have you got real macabre issues?
I’m really visual when it comes to writing lyrics. I’m really into cinema (Gun Crazy is named after a really cool gangster movie, in the vein of Bonnie and Clyde) so I try and conjure up strong images with my words. I wouldn’t say it’s totally ironic. I want to explore those themes and ideas, most of the record seems to deal with body parts falling or breaking. But I’d say humour is key to exploring the dark side of being a human. It allows you to come away with something meaningful whilst not wholly depressing.
Do you worry that some people may take some of your lyrics seriously?
Yeah, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take. Our band is laced with too much gawky attitude and awkward humour for us to be of any real threat to readers of The Daily Mail.
I don’t want anyone to take the lyrics too seriously. They’re dumb, cathartic, tongue-in-cheek riffs on what it’s like to be in your early 20s. Most of the time it’s brilliant, but you’re undoubtedly going to get into dark and difficult patches. It’s life, innit?
After the anger and drive of the first 9 songs, the album goes through a come-down period during the last three, almost like a resignation. Did you structure it this way?
I felt this was the only way to wrap up the record. I didn’t want something that sounded samey all the way through. I felt with Bye Bye…, Let’s Pretend and Fuckabout that we could address the aggression and the energy of the first half of the record. I wanted to have something that you could listen to all the way through.
Your sound obviously has a Nirvana feel about it and a touch of Alice in Chains in the vocals and choruses. Did you intend to emulate these sounds and re-establish ‘grunge’ or was it more of an organic process? Who else fed into your sound?
Nirvana are obviously a massive influence, but we never set out to sound grunge. When we started, we wanted to sound like Jay Reatard and Eighties Matchbox.
Finally, how are the live shows going? Have things got out of hand at all?
Some kid broke his ankle at our most recent show. He thought it was great. I’m drenched in second generation catholic guilt, so I don’t think it’s great.
by Benjamin Lovegrove
Face Like a Skull
Drenge by Drenge is out now through Infectious Records
Nothing is released through Infectious Records on November 11